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The Big Easy (New Orleans) I got an SMS while waiting in the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport saying, “I remember the first time you got drunk. It was on long island ice teas.” And I laughed out loud. I texted back, “Man, yeah, that’s when the Braves won the World Series. We partied on Peachtree Street!” Just then they announced boarding for the different zones. I added to the text, “Boarding now. See you soon dude!” And with that, I folded my mobile phone into my breast pocket and I lined up with the others. I slept the whole flight. And when I got to arrivals he was standing taller than I remember him and his hair was long and curly. I think he was about to text me when he looked up and saw me. David gave a big toothy grin. “Did you keep growing after college?” “No I just learned to stand taller.” And with all smiles we both shook hands and gave each other a hard pat on the back. “Fucking great to see you man.” “Yeah, it’s been too long. 13 or 14 years.” r I stopped walking and looked at him. “What? Are you kidding? Really? I thought it was only 10 years.” “I moved to New Orleans in June of 1995.” We were on I-10 when his iPhone started ringing. David answered, “What’s up bitch.” And the other guy on the line was talking loudly and fast. Then David pulled his ear off, “Hey I want you to meet my CEO. You cool with that? Grab dinner?”

I nodded. “Yeah, that’s cool.” “Hey mother fucker. We are going to eat with you.” They talked a little more. “You down with Sushi?” David asked me. I laughed. “Why is it always when the guy from Hong Kong comes to town everybody wants Chinese or Sushi?” “Oh yeah. Shit.” David went back to speaking on his phone. “Hey pussy, my buddy lives in China. How about something else?” I shook my head. “No, don’t worry man. I am down with it.” David asked, “You sure?” “Positive.” David pulled down Pierce Street in Mid-City not far from Downtown. People were gathered outside with beers in their hands. They were sitting on the stoops and the steps. “They closed down the downtown at 6 pm. So we are going to take the Trolley as far as we can get in and walk the rest of the way to your hotel.” “No problem.” The guys and girls standing around were laughing and talking when we walked up. “Hey this is my old roommate from college, Jackson.” Everybody said a collective, “Hi.” And then everyone started reaching out their hands to shake mine. All different names: Marty, Rob, James, Betty, and another name I didn’t catch. David and I walked inside. Then he opened his fridge and offered me a Hoegarden beer. We walked back outside on his porch. The guy Marty was looking across the street – and there was a hot girl in a purple sweater. “God, that girl has a great ass.” Then Marty took a sip of his beer. “Yeah, who is she?” Rob asked. David went on, “I think she is a friend of Julie’s.” David took a long swig of his beer. “But she is loving this. You can tell. She knows we are all checking her out.” Rob then got excited, “I saw this show on the Discovery Channel where they did an experiment. Where they two put groups of women on running machines.”

James spoke up, “You mean tread mills.” Rob laughed. “Yeah, that’s what I mean. And they told one group they were watching them to discover the differences in movements in women. And the other group – they told the women they were going to film to see if they could arouse men.” Marty asked, “You mean like softcore porn?” Rob shook his head and took another drink of beer. “No they were told that guys would be herded into a room to view the vidoes and the men would be studied for arousal. But the women were told repeatedly to be as normal as possible. The girls who were told that they would be watched to attract men – ran differently. They were all parading, sticking out their asses and stuff. That shit was funny.” Rob took a drink. “So girls know. They love to flaunt what they got.” Everybody went quiet and took a collective sip of beer. Marty got excited. “David you missed it. There was somebody riding an ice cooler. That fucking shit was amazing. They had wheels like a four wheeler and handlebars. It had an engine and everything. But it was an ice cooler. And as she was driving past, she pulled a beer out of it. Bad ass.” “An ice cooler?” David said to no one in particular. Then his iPhone chirped. David pulled it out and looked at it. “Hey we need to get you to your hotel. They are about to leave for sushi.” “Okay.” And I started drinking my beer faster. “Don’t rush. It’s legal here in New Orleans to carry a drink while walking through the city. Just carry it with you.” “Cool.” And I went to his car and extracted my suitcase and computer bag and we rolled out. We waited for a little while until the trolley clanged to stop in front of us. We got on to ride the 15 blocks into downtown New Orleans. But suddenly, the trolley stopped. The black conductor yelled out, “Okay. This is the last of the line. Everybody off!” A black lady swore loudly, “Why didn’t you tell us that the trip was going to be cut short. I wouldn’t given you a dollar fifty! Asshole.” The black conductor yelled loudly, “Happy Mardi Gras!”

We were at the corners of Canal and Basin Streets as a parade was winding down. The people were screaming at the top of the lungs. People were wasted. Thousands of hands were reaching upward to grab beads that were dangling above like tentacles from the ornate, blinking floats from masked krewes. We pushed through throngs of people down century old streets. Finally by turning down several street corners, we ended up on Charles Street. We walked in the dark through Jackson Square. And just across from an old Catholic Church, we found the Soniat House. A bellboy in a white tuxedo met David and I at the door after I rang the call button. We were ushered into the office. A lady was waiting for us. As we were checking in, I was still buzzed from the beer. The lady admitted to us she had just moved to New Orleans from San Francisco. “I am a standup comedian,” she said proudly. “Really? Wow. That’s awesome. I am too, well I am trying.” She was quick to add. “Well, I haven’t been doing it for that very long.” “How long?” I asked. “Two years.” “Well that’s longer than I have been doing it. I have only been doing it for six months to a year.” I admitted. “Really?” she said with her eyes wide. But then she noticed something behind her. “Oh, I guess I better let the busboy get you to your room. He looks like he is about to get pissed at me.” I turned. And the busboy’s face had changed to a smile. “No worries,” he said. I turned around and she held out the keys for me. “You are in room 28. Enjoy your stay. Happy Mardi Gras!” Thirty minutes later, after chasing after David because he had long legs and moved a lot quicker than me – we ended up walking into the sushi restaurant. Everyone in the restaurant seemed to greet David. I stood quietly. Suddenly, a gorgeous girl with dark hair turned to me and asked, “You are Jackson, right?”

I was shocked. But then I thought maybe David had already talked about me. “Yes, that’s me.” “Yes, I have been following you on Facebook.” I gave a puzzled look. “Huh? Really? We are friends?”

“Yes you added me.” I laughed. “I probably added you when I was drunk one night. I have a problem of doing that. I get drunk and start adding all the hot girls who are friends with my friends.” She laughed. “It’s okay. I like what you write. And your videos are cool.” I blushed. “Thanks.” And at that time, David moved me to another table to meet another group of friends. “Jackson, this is Richard. He is the CEO of our company.” At the table, there was a guy with jet black hair who looked like an MTV band leader. He held out his hand. “You are the guy from China, right?” I nodded. “That’s me.” “Nice to meet you, Jackson.” I reached out my hand and we shook hard. Then he turned to David. “How are you doing pussy?” David laughed. “Good. The crowds are crazy tonight.” Then we all sat down and food was ordered. Then Richard ordered sake. We had a toast. And after I pushed mine down, Richard asked, “What was David like in college?” I laughed. “Not like the guy you see today.” “I believe that.” Richard said slapping David on the shoulder. “But I am very impressed by him. He was the smartest of two guys in our graduating college class. I was a distant tenth. And I remember us living together worried that we

would graduate. Worried if we would ever be anything. Do something with our lives because our familes were so dependent on our success. And here we are.” David spoke up, “Yeah, it seemed so hard then. Like we would never make it.” Then a blonde lady sitting beside me who also worked for David’s company with huge breasts stated, “Then it became the big easy.” David and I looked at each other. “Yes. I guess so.” I said. Four hours later and uncountable alcoholic beverages later, we stumbled back from Uptown into the French Quarter. David got me to my hotel and I had to hand him the keys to open the door to the Soniat House. “Yo, man. That was great.” I said with a lot of effort trying not to slur my words but it was useless. “Yeah. It was great to hang out with you again.” I was quiet for a moment as my head was reeling. “Man, you know tonight it made me realize that I want to find the person to be with.” “Really? Why?” “You can see the whole world. But when you see it alone, what’s the point?” He thought for a second. “Well, remember its not choosing who to be with. Its choosing who cannot be without.” Even drunk, this statement drove deep. I didn’t respond back. He continued, “I will text you in the morning.” And with that, he went out. And I passed out on the massive Victorian bed. I woke the next morning still drunk. A couple in the next room was in the throes of sex. I heard the woman make a passionate moan and scream and then they went silent. As I was heading to the bathroom, I was still staggering. My mobile phone chirped. So I swung around and nearly fell. I got to the living room and saw the mobile ringing. Unknown number. I answered and I heard David’s voice, “Hey man.” He sounded like shit. “You up already?” “Actually just got up.”

“I never got to sleep.” “Huh?” “Well when I was walking back to my house, I saw this woman crying outside a bar. I went to see what was wrong. And she said her boyfriend had just left her.” “Oh.” “So we fucked all night in her hotel.” I shook my head to see if I had heard him right. “What? You fucked her? And what if her boyfriend would have come back to the hotel room?” David was quiet for a second. “Yeah, I didn’t think about that.” He paused. “Man, my body is all bruised up. She rode me hard – left scratches on my chest – on my back. She bit me. Shit man.” “So you need to get some sleep?” “Hell no. You want to go grab a beer. The Endymion parade will be starting this afternoon. You need to try and make your way over here.” “Will take a shower and will be over there.” “Cool man.” And with that we hung up and I went to the bathroom to puke.

Written by GS Jackson, © 2009 LOL Entertainment Group, LLC (USA) Limited (HKG)

The Big Easy (New Orleans, Louisana)  

Mardi Gras in New Orleans and a reunion with my old college roommate.

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